About the album
Three keyfigures from ECM’s contemporary music roster – Heinz Holliger, Thomas Zehetmair, and Thomas Demenga – team up for an exceptional recording of three works by German post-war composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann. Zimmermann, almost half a generation older than the serialists such as Boulez and Stockhausen, integrated state-of-the-art compositional methods in his writing while constantly following his own independent, highly expressive musical language. The rhythmically energetic violin concerto (1950) which is partially based on twelve-tone models and cast in three movements, was soon hailed as a model for a post-war solo concerto, while “Canto di Speranza” (1953/57), a one-movement cello concerto, acccording to Zimmermann, emphasizes monologue and introvert meditation. “Ich wandte mich…” on the other hand is Zimmermann’s last work, finished only a few days before his suicide in 1970. Labelled by the composer as an “ecclesiastical action”, the 35-minute oratorio on biblical verse and the famous parable "The Grand Inquisitor" from Dostoevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov” is a deeply pessimistic “performance art” work - of the kind that flourished in Germany’s ‘Fluxus’ scene around 1970 - involving recitation, singing, and both gestural and acrobatic action.
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